Today we are giving you three effective strategies to deal with the high holiday expectations and clichés that we all try to live up to in one way or another around Christmas and New Year. Be it putting up the fancy christmas decorations, making the extra expensive travel plans home or planning the celebrations for New Years Eve.
Christmas “should” be peaceful, happy, romantic, white, accompanied with delicious food, carol singing, full of generous and thoughtful presents. Or so the marketing and media world tells us.
New Year brings along glamorous dinners, parties, new year’s resolutions, fireworks and heaps of change and renewal. Right? Well, of course.
The holidays are fun and special, but conflict, friction and frustration are not far away from their buddy called high expectations.
My own family Christmas has never lived up to anyone’s expectations. My mum especially, being mainly responsible for the cooking and not necessarily enjoying it, would at some point curse the day. There were many times I would have much preferred to have a quiet day in front of the telly rather than picking up grandma and doing the Christmas thing. In the end we’d often simply be exhausted.
And my relationship with New Year is also ambiguous. Reflecting back on the year is good, but what if you discover you didn’t get where you wanted to go. Or what if you set a resolution and like most other people did not follow through, even the glam and celebration of it doesn’t help overcome the looming sense of failure that can come with it.
I sound a bit like a grinch, don’t I.
Here are three ways of successfully managing your holiday expectations:
1) Ask yourself what really matters and focus on that.
What is it that you really and deeply desire during the upcoming holidays?
Is it to feel cared for, loved and welcome?
Is it to get some rest?
Is it to do good and help someone out? Especially taking time out for people who are grieving, lonely or who are away from home.
Answer this question with sincerity. Create a reminder for yourself of what matters to you, so that you can start acting in line with your desired outcome in everything you do.
2) Abandon the predicament of it “having to be perfect” and practice “The Ten Commandments to Reduce Stress”
Read them out to yourself and re-read them regularly. Rather than becoming a slacker, you will find yourself accepting yourself and others more for who they are and alleviate stress.
- Thou shalt not be perfect or even try
- Thou shalt not try to be all things to all people
- Thou shalt leave undone things that ought to be done
- Thou shalt not spread thyself too thin
- Thou shalt learn to say “NO”
- Thou shalt make time for thyself
- Thou shalt learn to switch off and do nothing regularly
- Thou shalt be boring, untidy and unattractive at times
- Thou shalt not feel guilty
- Thou shalt not be thine own enemy
I found them here and they are credited to www.medical-masterclass.com.
3) Take responsibility for what you can change.
Especially in relationship conflicts this is a very important choice to make.
Reflect on how your behaviour might make another person feel and how the way they perceive your behaviour, has them in turn behave.
Is your behaviour perpetuating a cycle of conflict or trying to break it?
We are a fan of a tool called the Spiral of Disempowerment by Halcyon Global . You can download it for free and fill it out in your own time to see how you can actively influence a conflict situation, be it a long lasting feud or a spur of the moment row.
Taking responsibility is also about making courageous changes and choices.
Is it time to abandon the present giving mania? Consider if it’s worth going into debt when there are other ways to show that you care.
Is it time to have your own Christmas away from the family for the sake of your happiness?
Which of the three measures will you take to prevent high holiday expectations spoiling your precious time off?
And here is an opportunity to put these things in practice, get ready for the family and meet like-minded peers:
Hi I am Laura, I am part of the Mind The gap Coaching Team.
This year, my Christmas and New Year will consciously be a very quiet, caring affair in Germany and I will keep the Ten Commandments to Reduce Stress in sight.
What are you nervous about when it comes to Christmas and New Year? Tell me in the comments or send an email.